Are children more susceptible to unplanned extubation? According to studies of various literature and research, yes.
Unplanned extubation - or UE as it's commonly referred - is the unplanned, uncontrolled removal of a patient's life-sustaining breathing tube. And it's been reported that more than 18% of neonatal ICU patients experience unplanned extubation - this is higher than the average among adult ICU patients.
When UE is not properly managed it can potentially worsen patient outcomes, impact mortality and respiratory failure, and lengthen the stay in the hospital. UE affects more than 200,000 adult and neonatal ICU patients in the U.S. annually, resulting in more than 50,000 deaths.
Thirteen-year-old Drew Hughes was one of the young individuals who needlessly lost his life as a result of UE. But his story, however tragic, put a spotlight on UE, sparking a movement among 19 medical and patient safety and quality improvement organizations. This group of organizations formally came together as the Coalition for Unplanned Extubation Awareness and Prevention with the goal of reducing the incidence of preventable deaths from unplanned extubation.
To learn more about Drew's story, what's being done, and how to help, please read this blog published by Dr. Art Kanowitz of the Airway Safety Movement: